The Peninsula: Dean’s Lecture Series enters 10th stimulating year
By Satish Kanady
Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar (CMU-Q), which plays key role in creating a ‘transformative education experience’ in the country, has achieved a rare feat of entering the 10th year of its prestigious Dean’s Lecture Series.
Kicked-off in 2011, as part of CMU-Q’s community engagement program, the high-profile Dean’s Lecture Series has hosted Qatar’s top decision-makers, world-class speakers, women and men of renown, top academics and business people over the past nine years. They spoke on a diverse range of topics and issues, including economics, finance, technology, human development, environment and philosophy. The series has enriched debates on cutting edge ideas and outlined concrete solutions tailored to specific features of Qatar.
Free and open to public, the Dean’s Lecture Series offers a great mix of intellectual stimulation. Not only does it provide a chance to learn about something new, but it gives attendees a chance to get out and interact with high-profile speakers.
Sharing his thoughts on the 10-year journey of the popular Dean’s Lecture Series, exclusively to The Peninsula, CMU-Q’s Dean Michael Trick said: “The Lecture Series is an integral part of CMU-Q’s outreach mission. Education City is a really welcoming and open space. We want people to come and experience it.”
“The Dean’s Lecture Series is a forum for prominent industry leaders, government officials and members of the business community to share their expertise on topical issues. The lecture series has hosted some of the most influential thought leaders in Qatar to share their ideas and perspectives. We have completed 55 lectures, including two in the last fall. We will have almost 60 by the end of this academic year”, the Dean said.
There are three major audiences for the Dean’s Lecture Series: the students, faculty and the general community. For the faculty, it’s a great opportunity to understand the world around them. And they share their insights back in their classes, particularly the business faculty. From a student’s point of view, it is so important for them to hear a “non-professor voice,” For the general audience, especially the business community, it offers a rare opportunity to get the first-hand information from top decision makers.
H.E. Dr. Ibrahim Ibrahim, Economic Advisor, Amiri Diwan was the Dean’s Lecture Series’ inaugural speaker in 2011. The following years saw a line-up of high-profile Qatari personalities and world-renowned experts. The Qatari decision-makers and thought leaders included H.E. Dr. Khalid bin Mohamed Al Attiyah, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Defense Affairs; H.E. Ali Ahmed Al Kuwari, Minister of Commerce and Industry; H.E. Sheikh Abdulla bin Saoud Al Thani, Governor, Qatar Central Bank; and H.E. Sheikh Abdulla bin Mohammed bin Saud Al Thani of Qatar Investment Authority (QIA).
Gordon Bell, Distinguished Scholar, Principal Researcher, Microsoft Research (Digital lifelog: capturing every activity in life); Finn Kydland, Nobel Laureate, The Richard P. Simmons Distinguished Professorship; University Professor of Economics, Carnegie Mellon University ( Innovation and capital formation in today’s policy environment); Alfred V. Aho, Lawrence Gussman Professor of Computer Science, Columbia University (Computational thinking in programming language design); and Dr. Mary Ellen Weber, Veteran NASA Astronaut, US National Skydiving Champion (Leadership, governance and decisions: Lessons from space) were some of the great minds those featured in the Dean’s Lecture Series over the past few years.
On the criteria of choosing the speakers, the Dean said: “There are some commonalities. For instance, when we invite the QCB Governor, we know for sure that he will be able to give an insight to the audience on where Qatari economy is heading. When we heard that 4000 cows were coming to Qatar from a foreign land, we thought it would be really cool to know what it means for Qatar. Dr Ibrahim Ibrahim’s talk on the history of Qatar’s gas sector had turned out as a fascinating story how Qatar emerged as the global leader in gas industry. We try to get a mix of people in government, key industries, people in the academic world–both new and old faces–just to make sure we are hosting a fantastic series every year.”